? [i]Planet Earth[/i] Encoding Question

vbimport

#1

Hi,

I just got my mother the Planet Earth series from the BBC.

It is made up like this:


Disc 1:
  Episode 1
  Episode 2
  Episode 3
Disc 2:
  Episode 4
  Episode 5
  Episode 6
Disc 3:
  Episode 7
  Episode 8
  Episode 9
Disc 4:
  Episode 10
  Episode 11
Disc 5:
  Bonus Ep 1
  Bonus Ep 2
  Bonus Ep 3

It makes sense, except for two things:

(1) Each disc not only has its three episodes, but also a “play-all” episode which contains all three episodes in a single title. That’s just wasteful and annoying. What benefit/point is there to watching the three eps as one title instead of three in a row? Wouldn’t it have been better to skip that junk and put three other episodes on the disc instead? That way they could have cut it to three discs with 6/5/3 episodes, thus requiring less disc swapping and be cheaper to manufacture and buy because it’s two discs less. Duh.

(2) Each of the first nine episodes is around 2500MB (2400-2600), but the last two (on disc four) are 3750MB. I understand that because there were only two episodes on that disc instead of three there was more space available, but it really screws things up. I have been putting two eps per disc on DVD5s (~90%), but now I’m stuck. I am trying to put eps nine and 10 on a disc (and 11 and bonus 1 on another), but it won’t work. The stupid 10th and 11th episodes are too big. I figured that they just encoded them at a higher bit rate, but to no significant benefit since the other ones were able to be encoded to ~2240MB and these last two were not visually different, thus not requiring more space. So, I tried setting it to 60% to make it the same size as the normal title (~2240MB each). Unfortunately, when I compare it to the original video, it is noticeably degraded, even with Shrink’s maximum sharpness AEC setting.

I don’t understand. Why is it that they were able to encode nine episodes to 2500MB just fine, and transcoding them down 10% to 2240MB makes little visible change, but the last two that they encoded to 3750MB to use up the available space cannot be transcoded down to 2240MB without really messing it up? It’s not like the last two episodes were of detailed, fractal patterns that needs more space; they are of the same things as the other episodes. Why couldn’t they have been consistent and just encoded them to 2500MB originally? Why can’t those two eps look the same as the other nine at 2240MB?

:confused:


#2
  1. The “play all” episode is not its own episode. It’s merely a command to play all three episodes one after another.

  2. Just because you think that the last two episodes aren’t more visually complex than the others doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the case. Those two episodes may actually require a higher bitrate to maintain the same quality level. I also don’t think that anyone else is going to argue for [I]lower[/I] bitrate encodes; I know that I’d rather have more quality available to me than less, even if it means that I have to compress it myself to back it up. With that being said, try using another transcoder and see if you get different results. Most (if not all) have free trial periods. You can also try using DVD Rebuilder, which will re-encode the video (as opposed to transcode) and might produce higher quality output than transcoders. DVD Rebuilder is free if you use one of the free included encoders.


#3

Yeah, I just noticed that. Otherwise it would be a pretty big disc. :slight_smile:

[QUOTE=AZImmortal;2030382]2) Just because you think that the last two episodes aren’t more visually complex than the others doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the case. Those two episodes may actually require a higher bitrate to maintain the same quality level.[/Quote]
So it’s just a coincidence that the last two episodes need more space than the others, and just happen to be on the last disc that has extra space? Obviously they just encoded it at a higher bitrate because they had some extra space. That’s not a good reason to be inconsistent half-way through. Why didn’t they just switch to double-sided discs or BluRay in the middle? Why not make one episode have a French audio track and another have no subs?

I’d rather have consistency, whatever the cost.

[QUOTE=AZImmortal;2030382]With that being said, try using another transcoder and see if you get different results. Most (if not all) have free trial periods. You can also try using DVD Rebuilder, which will re-encode the video (as opposed to transcode) and might produce higher quality output than transcoders. DVD Rebuilder is free if you use one of the free included encoders.[/QUOTE]
Thanks for the tip. I used Shrink with the maximum sharpness and it was still a little blurry here and there. I was actually going to ask what the best transcoder is but I have always heard people say Shrink.

Is DVDRb the easiest? I’ll give it a shot tonight.


#4

dual layer for sure with these dvd’s…gotta keep the breath taking quality!!!


#5

[QUOTE=beachbumm;2030432]dual layer for sure with these dvd’s…gotta keep the breath taking quality!!![/QUOTE]

Except that I can fit two eps per DVD5 at 90% which is just fine for a non-HD tv. If I ever get an HD tv, then I can bother with DL (this isn’t the HD box set, it’s the regular), otherwise DL is a waste.


#6

I never said that it was simply a coincidence that those two episodes are larger than the others; in fact, I’m certain that they’re larger because there’s extra space on the disc. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t [I]also[/I] naturally require a higher bitrate to maintain the same quality level as the other episodes. The producers may have purposely placed those two episodes alone because they’re more visually demanding.

As far as your consistency requirements go, they’re not authoring the discs for your convenience in backing them up. They’re trying to provide the consumer with the best quality possible by using up the available space, which is completely logical. Besides needing to compress the video yourself, there’s no downside for the consumer for them to do this. Even if you end up compressing the video yourself, it would more or less be exactly the same as if they provided you with a lower bitrate video to begin with (assuming you use a quality encoder yourself).

DVD Rebuilder is very easy to use once everything is set up. The one-click option makes things very simple.


#7

There are at least 3 differen versions:

  1. DVD
  2. HD DVD
  3. BD

#8

[QUOTE=Synetech;2030396]Thanks for the tip. I used Shrink with the maximum sharpness and it was still a little blurry here and there. I was actually going to ask what the best transcoder is but I have always heard people say Shrink.

Is DVDRb the easiest? I’ll give it a shot tonight.[/QUOTE]

The best transcoder in my opinion is DVD2One but you’ll not beat DVD Rebuilder quality wise because as AZImmortal has said, it does a full re-encode as opposed to transcoding.

I’d recommend DVD Rebuilder with the HC Encoder if you’re looking to maximise quality.

[B]Wombler[/B]


#9

[QUOTE=AZImmortal;2030516]I never said that it was simply a coincidence that those two episodes are larger than the others; in fact, I’m certain that they’re larger because there’s extra space on the disc. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t [I]also[/I] naturally require a higher bitrate to maintain the same quality level as the other episodes. The producers may have purposely placed those two episodes alone because they’re more visually demanding.[/QUOTE]
That would be logical in the absence of information about its production.

[QUOTE=AZImmortal;2030516]As far as your consistency requirements go, they’re not authoring the discs for your convenience in backing them up. [/QUOTE]
I’m not talking about me or backing it up. Forget about copying it at all, just look at the original discs themselves. Imagine if you had a collection of GI Joe action figures (or My Little Ponies or whatever), but half way through the run, they came up with a process that would allow them to make 12" figures for the same price as the 6" ones, and so half of the collection is bigger. Wouldn’t that be annoyingly inconsistent? Wouldn’t that ruin the collection? Or if you were collecting baseball cards (or stamps or whatever) and had a complete set that’s perfect except for the fact that they changed the background pattern on the last 10% of them? Maybe it’s just that I have mild OCD and so it bothers me when collections and sets are imperfect, but I really think that it is wrong to ruin a set. If I wanted better-encoded copies I would have bought the HD version of the set (and an HD player, and TV…) It is better to keep a set proper and consistent and when the opportunity arrives for improvement, to just create a whole new superior set. They already do that with most things because it makes more money forcing you to start over from scratch.

[QUOTE=chef;2030621]There are at least 3 differen versions:

  1. DVD
  2. HD DVD
  3. BD[/QUOTE]
    Exactly.

[QUOTE=Wombler;2030812]The best transcoder in my opinion is DVD2One but you’ll not beat DVD Rebuilder quality wise because as AZImmortal has said, it does a full re-encode as opposed to transcoding.

I’d recommend DVD Rebuilder with the HC Encoder if you’re looking to maximise quality.[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE=AZImmortal;2030516]DVD Rebuilder is very easy to use once everything is set up. The one-click option makes things very simple.[/QUOTE]
But getting it set up seems to be quite hard. Plus there seem to be a lot of options, and it looks like you have to not only buy the app itself, but an encoder too.


#10

[QUOTE=Synetech;2030887]But getting it set up seems to be quite hard. Plus there seem to be a lot of options, and it looks like you have to not only buy the app itself, but an encoder too.[/QUOTE]

The HC Encoder is free and included with the DVD Rebuilder installer package. There is a number of other free ones but HC Encoder is generally regarded as the best.

Alternatively, if you prefer, download it from here.

From what I recall the free version doesn’t really have all that many functions anyway so there shouldn’t be too much you need to set up manually. Just remember to go into the settings and make sure the program knows where HC Encoder is located.

Check out the help file included with DVD Rebuilder and it should tell you all you need to know.

The free version doesn’t do movie only mode but you can prepare what you want in other software (without compression) and use DVD Rebuilder to re-encode.

It’ll give you an idea as to the quality achieveable then you can make your own mind up as to whether you think the additional functionality of the professional version is worth it or not.

If you’re happy enough with the free version just continue using that.

To be honest I’ve had the professional version for years now and wouldn’t be without it.

[B]Wombler[/B]


#11

Sounds good. I’ll play around with a bit today.


#12

[QUOTE=Synetech;2030887]I’m not talking about me or backing it up. Forget about copying it at all, just look at the original discs themselves. Imagine if you had a collection of GI Joe action figures (or My Little Ponies or whatever), but half way through the run, they came up with a process that would allow them to make 12" figures for the same price as the 6" ones, and so half of the collection is bigger. Wouldn’t that be annoyingly inconsistent? Wouldn’t that ruin the collection? Or if you were collecting baseball cards (or stamps or whatever) and had a complete set that’s perfect except for the fact that they changed the background pattern on the last 10% of them? Maybe it’s just that I have mild OCD and so it bothers me when collections and sets are imperfect, but I really think that it is wrong to ruin a set. If I wanted better-encoded copies I would have bought the HD version of the set (and an HD player, and TV…) It is better to keep a set proper and consistent and when the opportunity arrives for improvement, to just create a whole new superior set. They already do that with most things because it makes more money forcing you to start over from scratch.[/QUOTE]
Your examples don’t relate to this situation because those examples will fundamentally change the entire nature of those sets. However, a higher bitrate video is completely transparent to the end-user experience. Unless you specifically looked up the size of the video, you would have no idea that those two episodes are larger than the others, so I don’t see how that would be “annoyingly inconsistent” or how it would “ruin the collection.” Assuming that you’re not backing up the discs, then there’s literally zero downside for you to have them fill up the disc. The last disc was going to have only two episodes on them anyway, and now they’re higher quality. What’s the big deal?

And even if you are backing up the discs (which you are), you’re still compressing every single episode to make them fit onto single-layer DVDs in pairs, so the fact that those two episodes are larger than the rest means nothing to you in the end. The quality issues that you’re having with those two episodes have nothing to do with their original size. The problem is likely to be with DVD Shrink.


#13

[QUOTE=Synetech;2030960]Sounds good. I’ll play around with a bit today.[/QUOTE]Watch out you will find you will want DVDRB Pro and CCE :smiley:


#14

Alright, one more question so that I really understand the encoding.

If two similar (or even identical) titles, each 58 minutes are encoded differently, title A to 2500MB and title B to 3750MB, then what would be the best way to compress the two down to 4480MB so that you get both with as optimal a quality as possible? Would it be better to compress both to the same size (2240MB - title A at 89.6% and title B at 59.73%) or to compress them both proportionally to the same percentage (71.68% - title A at 1792MB and title B at 2688MB)?

In other words, if you encode a video at a higher bitrate, does that mean that more information can be discarded before it degrades to point X? It would seem logical to think so. Another example is with SuperBit titles. If you get the same movie in regular and SuperBit formats, shouldn’t you be able to transcode the SuperBit version down to the same size as the regular one without degradation (so that they look the same at the same size)?


#15

Yes, starting with a higher bitrate video means that you can discard more information to reach the same quality level as a lower bitrate video. It’s actually better to start with a higher bitrate video because your source material will be “cleaner.” In your situation, you would want to compress both titles down to roughly the same size.

I don’t remember if Bitrate Redistribution is an option with the non-pro version of DVD Rebuilder, but if it is and you enable it, then you can combine your two uncompressed titles into a single DVD and then DVD Rebuilder will choose how to best redistribute the bitrate between the two titles to maintain the same video quality with each other. In other words, DVD Rebuilder might decide (for example) that one title needs to be 2100mb while the other needs to be 2380mb.


#16

[QUOTE=AZImmortal;2031193]I don’t remember if Bitrate Redistribution is an option with the non-pro version of DVD Rebuilder, but if it is and you enable it, then you can combine your two uncompressed titles into a single DVD and then DVD Rebuilder will choose how to best redistribute the bitrate between the two titles to maintain the same video quality with each other. In other words, DVD Rebuilder might decide (for example) that one title needs to be 2100mb while the other needs to be 2380mb.[/QUOTE]

But wouldn’t that be the same as principal as having Shrink analyze both titles then transcode them to be the same quality percentage?

Which should give better overall results: same size or same percentage?


#17

[QUOTE=Synetech;2031358]But wouldn’t that be the same as principal as having Shrink analyze both titles then transcode them to be the same quality percentage?

Which should give better overall results: same size or same percentage?[/QUOTE]

It’s impossible to tell as it depends on the actual content of each video, how optimally it’s been compressed and how much headroom there is for further compression.

Bitrate redistribution between the two titles is the way to go but I don’t think you can do that with the free version. I might be wrong on that though.

Just try it with the default options and I’m sure you’ll notice a considerable difference compared to the transcoded versions.

Bitrate redistribution will improve on that again but again it depends on the source as to how apparent this is.

[B]Wombler[/B]


#18

So you mean that in one case it could be that making them the same size could be better and in another, making them the same percentage of the original could be better? Yikes. Shouldn’t analysis be able to determine that?

For now I set the TargetSize setting of Rebuilder to 2240MB and am encoding both titles to that. Afterward, I’ll try setting the TargetSize separately for each so that they are same percentage of the original size. Then I’ll see which gives better results. Of course this means that it will take FOREVER to do; the first of the four encodes has only JUST started to write to the disk after about an hour.

[B]CRAP!!![/B] HCenc just crashed. I guess that I have to start ALL OVER. Of course there’s no point to starting over if it’s just going to crash again…


#19

[QUOTE=Synetech;2031408]So you mean that in one case it could be that making them the same size could be better and in another, making them the same percentage of the original could be better? Yikes. Shouldn’t analysis be able to determine that?

For now I set the TargetSize setting of Rebuilder to 2240MB and am encoding both titles to that. Afterward, I’ll try setting the TargetSize separately for each so that they are same percentage of the original size. Then I’ll see which gives better results. Of course this means that it will take FOREVER to do; the first of the four encodes has only JUST started to write to the disk after about an hour.

[B]CRAP!!![/B] HCenc just crashed. I guess that I have to start ALL OVER. Of course there’s no point to starting over if it’s just going to crash again…[/QUOTE]

What you can do is blank out the titles you don’t need (with PgcEdit or VobBlanker) and use MenuShrinker to convert the menus to stills (this is a very simple automated process).

That way you have both titles on the same disc with a small but serviceable menu and compression is optimised for both.

You can be smarter again and edit the menus but we’ll leave that for another day. :slight_smile:

[B]Wombler[/B]


#20

[QUOTE=Wombler;2031415]What you can do is blank out the titles you don’t need (with PgcEdit or VobBlanker) and use MenuShrinker to convert the menus to stills (this is a very simple automated process).

That way you have both titles on the same disc with a small but serviceable menu and compression is optimised for both.

You can be smarter again and edit the menus but we’ll leave that for another day. :)[/QUOTE]

Menus? We don’t need no stinkin’ menus. :slight_smile: Actually we can’t stand menus.

What I did was to rip the original titles from the two discs to the hard drive with DVDShrink (single title only, no compression) into two folders (\ep9\VIDEO_TS… and \ep10\VIDEO_TS…). I am using those as the inputs for processing, that way it’s much faster and I don’t have to keep switching the disc.